The One and Only Ivan Themes
Updated: 3/1/2021
The One and Only Ivan Themes
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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Teacher Guide by Lauren Ayube

Ivan is a silverback gorilla who has been living in captivity at the Big Top Mall for 9,857 days, or 27 years. His “domain” has three glass walls, a painting of a jungle on the fourth wall, a tire swing, a small pool, and an old TV. He spends his days drawing, watching TV, looking out into the world, and chatting with his friends. Things change at the Big Top Mall when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives. She is sweet, innocent, and kind, and Ivan will do anything to set her free.


The One and Only Ivan

Storyboard Description

Illustrate examples of themes found in The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Storyboard Text

  • FRIENDSHIP
  • LOYALTY
  • You want me to take care of Ruby?
  • LONELINESS
  • The friendship between Ivan and Bob is unique because of how different they are. Bob is a tiny dog, and Ivan is a huge gorilla, yet they are the best of friends.
  • When Stella knows that she is going to die, she asks Ivan to promise her something; he says yes before he even knows what she is asking. When he promises to take care of Ruby, Ivan stays up day and night to keep that promise.
  • Yes. Please.
  • Mack's wife, Helen, left him a long time ago. Mack is lonely, bitter, and spends most of his time by himself. Mack's loneliness affects his relationship with others.
  • The One and Only Ivan Themes